An inconvenient truth: the unconsidered benefits of convenience polyandry

Rebecca A. Boulton*, Marlene Zuk, David M. Shuker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Polyandry, or multiple mating by females with different males, is commonplace. One explanation is that females engage in convenience polyandry, mating multiple times to reduce the costs of sexual harassment. Although the logic underlying convenience polyandry is clear, and harassment often seems to influence mating outcomes, it has not been subjected to as thorough theoretical or empirical attention as other explanations for polyandry. We re-examine here convenience polyandry in the light of new studies demonstrating previously unconsidered benefits of polyandry. We suggest that true convenience polyandry is likely to be a fleeting phenomenon, even though it can profoundly shape mating-system evolution via potential feedback loops between resistance to males and the costs and benefits of mating.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
Early online date28 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Convenience polyandry
  • Mating systems
  • Sexual conflict
  • Sexual harassment


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